The Tragedy Of Woman’s Emancipation: A Review

Emma Goldman, the celebrated anarchist lambastes first wave feminism and the notion of female emancipation that it perpetrates.
In her essay, ‘ The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation’, Goldman admits that the current notion of woman’s emancipation seems to reinforce social antagonism brought about by existing opposing and contradictory interests. She claims that there will come a day , with the reorganization of our social life based on the principles of economic justice when any such differentiations like the artificial boundary lines between men and women’s rights will disintegrate into a perfect whole.
Goldman holds that the problem that confronts us as humans is how to feel deeply with all human beings and still retain our individualism. To be able to understand our fellow beings without resorting to antagonism would be ideal. This is the basis of her criticism about the movement of woman’s emancipation.
The idea of emancipation should be to allow women to be human in the truest sense- to allow her the complete freedom of expression and to break free from the shackles of centuries of submission and slavery.
The Woman’s Emancipation Movement has been able to eradicate only external tyrannies and reduced the woman into an artificial being.
Although paradoxical, the woman now faces the challenge of emancipating herself from emancipation. The Movement was merely focused on achieving equal political and economic rights for women. However, in the workplace too, women are now expected to compete with men, but since they are not equipped to do so owing to their past , they use up all their vitality and energy in the competition. The lack of freedom at home has merely been replaced b lack of freedom at the workplace.
This so called independence is stifling and it dulls the free-spirited nature and instincts of women. The tragedy of the self-supporting or economically free woman lies in the fact that she surpasses the past generations in the knowledge of the world and human nature, which is why she feels increasingly incomplete, dissatisfied and misses life’s essence.
Thus, the meaning of emancipation is lost because woman has failed to fight the internal tyrants of public opinion. Unless a woman has defied them all and learns to listen to the voice of nature, and her conscience,she cannot call herself emancipated.


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